Open main menu

Ivory Coast History

Ivory Coast Wiki Topics
Flag of Côte d'Ivoire.svg.png
Beginning Research
Record Types
Ivory Coast Background
Local Research Resources


Ivory Coast or Côte d'Ivoire, officially the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a country located in West Africa. Ivory Coast's political capital is Yamoussoukro, while its economic capital and largest city is the port city of Abidjan. It borders Guinea and Liberia to the west, Burkina Faso and Mali to the north, Ghana to the east, and Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) to the south.

The area became a protectorate of France in 1843 and was consolidated as a French colony in 1893 amid the European scramble for Africa. It achieved independence in 1960. Relatively stable by regional standards, Ivory Coast established close political and economic ties with its West African neighbors while at the same time maintaining close relations to the West, especially France. Ivory Coast experienced a coup d'état in 1999 and two religiously-grounded civil wars, first between 2002 and 2007 and again during 2010–2011. In 2000, the country adopted a new constitution.

The official language is French, with local indigenous languages also widely used, including Baoulé, Dioula, Dan, Anyin, and Cebaara Senufo. In total there are around 78 languages spoken in Ivory Coast. There are large populations of Christians, primarily Roman Catholics, Muslims, and various indigenous religions.


1637 - A French mission was established at Assinie near the border with the Gold Coast, now Ghana
1871 - The defeat of France in the Franco-Prussian War caused the French to withdraw its military garrisons from its West African trading posts, leaving them in the care of resident merchants
1886 - France again assumed direct control of its West African coastal trading posts and embarked on an accelerated program of exploration in the interior
1893 - Ivory Coast became a French colony
1904 - 1958 Ivory Coast was part of the Federation of French West Africa
1917 - 1919 Some 150,000 men from Ivory Coast died in World War I
1946 - The Brazzaville Conference and France's gratitude for African loyalty during World War II, led to far-reaching governmental reforms and French citizenship was granted to all African subjects
1958 - Ivory Coast became an autonomous member of the French Community, which had replaced the French Union
1960 - 1980 In other African nations, the people drove out the Europeans following independence, but in Ivory Coast, they poured in and the population grew
2002 - 2004 The First Ivorian Civil War was a conflict where the country remained split in two, with a rebel-held Muslim north and a government-held Christian south
2010 - 2011 The Second Ivorian Civil War where the country was severely damaged by the war